Hawaii’s largest health insurance company plans to lay off workers. HMSA told the state that it plans to outsource some of the jobs being done on Oahu and the Big Island.

Business experts said this layoff does provide opportunities for the companies that have been having a hard time finding workers and the employees who are getting laid off.

“New regulatory requirements and consumer mandates have forced the need for massive technology upgrades to maximize efficiency,” said HMSA President Dr. Mark Mugiishi, in a statement. So, it has been decided to partner with a company called Firstsource Solutions Limited.

He added that about 285 workers may be affected: “However, the majority of these employees are either being retained by HMSA or transitioned to new roles with our partner locally.”

Business experts said this layoff comes at a time when those who are looking for work will have more options.

“There is a workforce shortage, and many businesses are looking for positions to be filled. So, this presents an opportunity for job seekers to look at what other types of jobs are out there,” explained Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President and CEO.

The insurance commissioner also sent a statement saying it is unfortunate that HMSA intends to lay off workers, and he is hopeful that they can be retained in another capacity. He said HMSA has also requested a less than 2% rate increase for 2022 — which is currently under review.

HMSA added that the move to outsource will modernize claims, and the goal is to make health care more affordable.

Menor-McNamara also pointed out that the COVID pandemic has led many companies to re-evaluate their business model.

“We will see many more re-evaluating — whether it’s the workplace environment or the way they deliver goods, products and services,” she said.

HMSA said the layoffs will start in January 2022. Menor-McNamara said the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations can help job seekers find work, as well as learn new skills. Employers are also luring workers with more benefits, such as flexible hours.

“So, we are seeing a variety type of benefits from that to bonuses, to higher salaries, and I think more businesses are looking to be more creative,” Menor-McNamara noted.

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